In the Western Cape alone, more than 55 000 learners are being transported to and from schools across the province, every day, along more than 500 routes. Despite the substantial subsidy budgets allocated to these services across the country, very little attention has been given to the design of this unique and complex form of public transport. This paper is used to explore some of the complexities peculiar to Learner Transport Services (LTS) in South Africa. The factors to consider when designing a route or routes for the learners in a district that attend a school, or cluster of schools, include: the impact of terrain, gradients and surface type on the selection and performance of vehicles in designing a fleet for a route; variation in learner numbers over time and the impact on variations in a contract; and the appropriateness of the Department of Transport’s Model Contract for Public Transport Services to contract learner transport services. The paper includes some of the prevailing practices employed by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in managing the routes and contracts under its control. Finally, it demonstrates the recently completed process to migrate the historic hand-drawn route maps to an electronic and web-based format, and the potential this holds to significantly improve the design and management of LTS contracts in future
Papers Presented at the 2018 37th Southern African Transport Conference 9-12 July 2018 Pretoria, South Africa. Theme "Towards a desired transport future: safe, sufficient and affordable".